As an 11 year old Glasgow boy living on the wrong side of town in the 1960s John Pattison considers himself one of the lucky ones.
His uncle sponsored his family in 1964 to move to Australia from Scotland to settle and he has never looked back.
Although this was more than 50 years ago John finally became one of our newest Australian citizens at a special ceremony in Cobram on Australia Day.
“During the 1960s in Scotland there wasn’t much to smile about,” John said.
“As an eleven year old growing up in a very rough part of Glasgow the future looked grim.”
John’s father Ken was a professional soccer player for Kilmarnock Football Club and was even invited to play for Leeds and Celtic but his family did not allow the move. He worked hard at the local power station but knew the move to Australia would be good for the family.
John, his brother Ken and mother Patty, and soon after his father, took the leap of faith and moved to Australia. His older sister Diane remained in Scotland but also moved to Australia some years later.
“I remember we caught the overnight train to London and we then travelled over two nights by air to get to Melbourne,” John said.
“My first impression of Australia was frightening. We had stopped in Darwin and a big bloke got on the plane. He was in a kahki shirt and shorts and began spraying a substance down the aisle of the plane.
“We then landed at the Essendon airport and lived in Essendon for several years.
“Dad became Essendon Lions Soccer Club Manager and soon found a job at TAA.”
John, now a mad Essendon football club supporter, finished his schooling at Broadmeadows Tech and soon after started working at the National Bank of Australia.
After three years at the bank he moved back to Scotland for 12 months to assist in treating a chronic asthma problem.
He returned to Australia and worked for CBC Bank where he met his now wife Chris. The pair were married in 1979 and in 1995 moved with their two children, Laura and Dale, to Yarrawonga where John became loans manager at the Yarrawonga Credit Union (now Central Murray Credit Union).
John soon became General Manager and has held the position to this very day.
John commented on how proud he is to this very day the way the local credit union has grown and the support the community has given the organisation over the years.
“It’s a wonderful community to work in,” he said.
“But I don’t know why I haven’t become an Aussie. I have always regarded myself as an Aussie. But in recent years I have had two grandkids, (Brax and Abby) and with the recent political dramas around citizenship I thought I should do it.
“I love this country and especially love Yarrawonga so I suppose it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
John jokingly confirmed he will not be running for any seat in politics.